What does Dependent mean?
A dependent is an individual other than the taxpayer who the taxpayer can use to receive a dependent exemption. Several different individuals may qualify as a dependent.
A family member is considered a dependent if they are a child, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, or stepsister of the taxpayer, or a child or grandchild of any of these individuals. In addition, the family member must live with the taxpayer for more than half the tax year and be under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or be under the age of 24 and be a full-time student. Finally, the taxpayer must provide more than half of the family member's support.
Other family members are considered dependents even when they do not live with the taxpayer if the family members are citizens of the United States or residents of the United States, Canada, or Mexico; did not file a joint income tax return during the tax year; received more than half of their income from the taxpayer during the tax year; and had income below $3,800 during the tax year. These family members can include but may not be limited to children, grandchildren, stepchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
Non-family members may be claimed as dependents if the person lives with the taxpayer for the entire tax year; the person is a citizen of the United States or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico; did not file a joint income tax return during the tax year; received more than half of their income from the taxpayer during the tax year; and had income below $3,800 during the tax year.